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Your Guide to Endometriosis

There’s been a lot of talk lately about endometriosis. Health professionals and politicians are finally waking up to this often-undiagnosed condition, and discussing how to provide women with the support they need to explore and manage it better.
But perhaps you’re wondering what endometriosis is? How does it feel, how is it diagnosed, and is it curable?
That’s why we’ve put together this handy little guide to endometriosis.

What is endometriosis?

First up, what is endometriosis (also known as ‘endo’)? Essentially, it’s a condition that sees the uterus lining developing outside, often in the pelvic cavity. It also might grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or bowel, which can cause a lot of pain and problems.

What are common endo symptoms?

There’s a reason why endometriosis has previously been dismissed by doctors – its symptoms echo a bad period or PMS. We’re talking severe cramping and heavy periods, although it can also bring on pelvic pain, painful peeing, and digestive discomfort such as constipation.

What causes endometriosis?

Researchers are still very much in the dark on endo. Which means they’re not entirely sure how it starts. There’s doesn’t appear to be any way to prevent it, although there could be a link with the immune system. Some studies have also hinted at genetics playing a part, because you’re around 7 times more likely to develop endo if your mum has it.

How is endo diagnosed and treated?

Sadly, it takes an average of 10 years to be properly diagnosed with endometriosis (there’s currently a campaign to change this and get doctors to improve their diagnostic efforts).
Doctors will usually try a few different things to rule out pelvic pain, such as blood tests and ultrasounds. But a laparoscopy is the only way to know for sure. It’s a minor surgical procedure that uses a special lens to check for endo in the pelvic cavity.
While there isn’t yet a cure for endo, there are several treatments that might be recommended. This can include making healthier lifestyle changes, hormone therapy, or even surgery.
Several natural therapies have also been shown to help – including reiki, Acupuncture, herbal and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and yoga.

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